Couple stuck in ‘nightmare’ home with mouldy walls, rats running riot and a TREE growing up chimney

A COUPLE have been stuck in a "nightmare" home with mouldy walls, rats running riot and a tree growing up the chimney for six years.

Rhiann and Jason Blair have had nothing but problems with their "neglected" top-floor flat in Belfast since moving in in 2015.

Their Tullycarnet apartment is plagued with issues – from windows that don't open and constant damp, to vermin infestations and moss-covered walls.

The ceiling has even collapsed twice in the last few years, destroying a TV gifted by Jason's dad before his death and ruining wedding documents just weeks before the couple's big day.

Rhiann told BelfastLive: "I have lived here for six years and had six years of damp, mould and even rats.

"When I first moved in I had problems with the windows because they just would not open and if you tried to force them then they would fall out.

"Because they were so old they provided no protection from the elements so my flats would be constantly full of damp and mould.

"I had to battle to get new windows put in for over a year because every time I asked I was told that there would be a refurbishment soon."

The ceiling first fell down in 2017 but Rhiann and Jason had to relive the horror when it happened a second time in March.

Jason had just returned from a night shift when he found their TV, floor and furniture drenched in water.

"It even ruined our wedding documents a couple of months before we were due to get married," he added.

"We just felt like we couldn't cope anymore due to the stress of it all."

And things went from bad to worse when Jason woke to the sound of a tapping noise on the ceiling – which turned out to be a leak in the roof.

"When a man came round to check it out, we were told that there was a tree growing in our chimney," he said.

Now, Rhiann and Jason are forced to take their TV off the wall every time it rains due to the damp.

And each time they try to patch the problems up, everything "gets ruined again", Rhiann said.

Things have fallen into such a state of disrepair that the couple think the only thing left is to "flatten" the place.

We just felt like we couldn't cope anymore due to the stress of it all.

Jason said: "The flats have got to such a state that I don't think there is anything that can be done to repair them.

"The hallways are also in an awful state with concrete falling down from the roof and the walls are covered in moss and mould.

"I think that the best thing to do would be to flatten them, but until then something needs to be done to make these flats liveable.

"There are some residents who have been living here for 30 years and they do not deserve to be treated like this."

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the authority which oversees the block, said contractors have visited the house this month and repairs are due to be carried out.


They added: "Our chief executive and other staff met with local representatives a few weeks ago and a series of actions were agreed.

"These included work to repair roofs, upgrade work to communal hallways, including lighting and painting and we are also examining options to improve security.

"Some of this work is already underway and we will soon appoint contractors to deliver more

"Our staff have been on site this week, both for inspection and preparation of improvement works.

"An Economic Appraisal regarding the future of these blocks is planned to be presented to our Board for their consideration next month."

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